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MacTweets

“A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.”
Robert Orben

Macaron à la Peaches et CrèmeIt’s been literally a mac-vacation for me, a vacation I dislike as it keeps me away from a challenge I love with a vengeance. I’m back on board to get in with the fun and beautiful Mac Attack Jamie and I host each month. This time our call was for Vacation Macs … and how better could I get there with my mac-a-vacations … Macaron à la Peaches et Crème {pardon my French please}Macaron à la Peaches et CrèmeThe flavours are reminiscent of one of the best vacations we enjoyed a few years ago in the Himalayas. Ramgarh, IndiaWe’ve had some other fabulous ones include Goa, Sydney, Hong Kong, Gangtok … but the one the now threatening to be quite terrible just turned 13‘ teen remembers every single day is this one at Ramgarh. Nothing like the serenity of the Himalayas to unwind!Ramgarh, India

That vacation filled in perfectly with our call this month. Our best macarons reminiscent of that ideal vacation or that perfect holiday spot. Mountains, seaside, tiny hamlet lost in the countryside, large, bustling city teeming with restaurants and museums, these are our inspiration. With the best vacation that comes to mind, from that thought, memory or distant dream, create a fabulous Vacation Macaron!

Ramgarh, India Ramgarh, IndiaRamgarh, IndiaWe stayed at a beautiful heritage cottage surrounded by peach trees and since it was peak summer, we walked by peach trees plucking fresh, juicy fruit right off the tree. This is where my lad became a peach monster and developed a deep love for the fruit.Macaron à la Peaches et Crème Summer is for stone fruit is my chant. I just cannot have enough of these delicious fruit that are reaching us in the foothills of the Himalayas; better quality and quantity every year! This summer I have had a field day with stone fruit…Stone fruit Apricot Peach Sorbet, Dark Chocolate Cherry Mousse Cake, Mini Quark Vanilla Cheesecakes with Balsamic Cherries, Black Forest Cake, Oatmeal Peach Apricot Mango Smoothie {yet to post}, Dark Chocolate Cherry Wholewheat Cakelets {yet to post} … and my fridge is full of cherries, peaches, mangoes and apricots!Peach Ice CreamI have also been developing some food recipes for Del Monte for their website World Foody. The peach ice cream above is one I made last week from their canned peaches, beautiful cling peaches with a fabulous deep flavour. Will let you know when the recipe is up on the website; until then it’s Macaron à la Peaches et Crème!Macaron à la Peaches et Crème The macaron shells were going to be perfect, something deep within me said to me when I was done folding the macaronage. BUT … in my hurry to beat the power cut, I switched on the upper element instead of the lower one, so my feet popped out with the thermal shock and the skins developed a ‘peach‘ blush. It was too late to salvage the batch, and the little macronage left proved my feeling right! Aaaargh! And did I tell you that at 45C ice-cream melts SO FAST? I was RACING!http://www.chillibreeze.com/interviews/chillibreeze-interview-deeba-rajpal.asp#I used the several times tried and tested David Lebovitz recipe that lives in my head. It never goes wrong if you mix the macronage correctly and let it rest! However, a little more advice follows …

Do you want to join us making MACARONS?

If you do, you are most welcome to join us  for this challenge, or the next. You can find all the information at our dedicated macaron blog MacTweets. We generally post the round-up by the end of every month, following which a new challenge is posted!

… these cookies are fiddly creatures and are dependent on way too many things. egg whites {aged or not}, almond meal,oven temperature, room temperature, humidity levels, the hand that mixes them, the way you pipe them out … and above all, lady luck!

Before I get onto the recipe, I’d like to thank Chillibreeze for interviewing me. You can read it here if you like.I’d also like to thank the Financial Times, Times of India, for including me so generously in their feature ‘Gurgaon is Blogging & How‘ on Business Street, 21st June, 2012. Last but not the least, thank you Javelin Warrior for adding my Dark Chocolate Cherry Mousse Cake in your delicious Friday Food Fetish.

Thank you all! I feel really honoured.

Monthly Mingle is the brainchild of the lovely Meeta @ Whats For Lunch Honey, and this month it celebrates Barbara’s spirit at the wonderful Jeanne @ Cook Sister with a Taste of Yellow. I am sending this to the MM for July 2012.

[print_this]Recipe: Macaron à la Peaches et Crème
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Summary: Vanilla macarons sandwiched with a home made low fat peach & cream ice cream. Perfect for those hot summer days!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes {plus resting time}
Ingredients:

  • Vanilla Macarons
  • {recipe adapted from David Lebovitz}
  • 1 egg white {35gm} {I didn’t age mine}
  • 2 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar {I used granulated vanilla sugar}
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 tsp egg white powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder
  • Peach ice cream for filling

Method:

  1. Run the powdered sugar, almond meal, vanilla bean powder and egg white powder in blender until well blended. Sift into a bowl.
  2. Beat the egg white until foamy, then add the granulated sugar and beat for approximately 2 minutes until stiff peaks form.
  3. Fold in 1/4 of the dry mix until no streaks remain, then add the remainder of the dry mix and gently fold in until you get a lava like batter. {Donot overfold}
  4. Place into a piping bag and pipe circles onto parchment paper.
  5. Tap the trays sharply to get rid of air bubbles and allow to rest for 30-45 minutes.
  6. Bake in double trays at 140C for 12-15 minutes, until the shells are firm and no longer jiggly. {My oven uses just the lower element for baking, so I place the double trays towards the top of the oven}
  7. Cool and sandwich with softened ice cream. Store in freezer and serve directly from there.

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“Macarons should be eaten slowly with each mouthful savoured. They should be eaten somewhere pretty and refined.”
Yellow Magpie

Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme Nothing in the cookie world seems to have evoked as much interest and admiration as macarons! Sweet and pretty bites, inspirational to make, absolutely charming, yet intimidating for bakers like me. At MacTweets, our mac-obsessed kitchen, Jamie and I called to mark World Macaron Day on March 20th. These Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme are my tribute to this delightful invention!Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme I’ve missed making macarons for a while now and was happy to be faced with a MacTweets challenge for World Macaron Day. Been thinking long on what to make and what not to, and then thanks to sweet blogger friends like the lovely and talented Shayma, I made these addictive bites. They might not look perfect, but they tasted fabulous!Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme Life is busy and we have had family and friends from overseas visiting us over the past few months. They all know I food blog, so with them come delicious ingredients and kitchen stuff I might not ever dream of. I feel special … very special!Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme …and felt even more so when a few days ago the Spice Spoon girl tweeted to ask when my folk were visiting as she had something to send for me. My cousin from Pittsburgh flew in a few days later. With him came these beautiful spice boxes from William Sonoma – Dried Blood Orange Peel and Pure Maple Flakes.Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme The minute I saw the pretty little jars I knew what my macs were going to be – Blood Orange with Maple filling. I had already a thread of orange in my mind as my life is overflowing with tangerines. All the little shrubs have branches hanging heavy with this beautiful fruit … the little pooch seems to take a keen interest in the fruit too; little Coco who is ALL EYES!!Tangerines & CocoPretty orange life and there is only so much bitter marmalade I can make. I thought I would sweeten the filling mildly with maple flakes and add a dash of orange from the little bitter tangerines. The shells baked fine, the little feet appearing in a few minutes of baking, blushing a pastel orange. Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Pastry CremeOf course we had a power cut again, but thankfully the frills had formed so no harm done! I was quite happy. What I wasn’t happy with was my choice of filling. A pastry creme obviously isn’t firm enough for these fiddly creatures. They got soft overnight and I had some fixing to do!Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Pastry Creme I had a fix in mind … chocolate can fix anything, even a broken heart, and then I came across Mardi’s macaron post asking ‘Why do my macarons have hollow shells. That set me thinking! It was time to read up again. My macarons are also hollow at times and OK at other times even though my recipe is the same. So mac-obsessed me set off to try Mardis recipe.Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme I have to say they are the best tasting macarons I have ever made even though the shells weren’t anywhere near smooth. They looked so good 6 minutes into baking, just the perfect macs, but soon after threatened to crack up, but then shriveled slightly. Maybe it was because of undermixing, but the flavours were da bomb! You can find her recipe, perfect macarons and beautiful post here Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme To remedy the filling, I melted dark couverture chocolate and stirred it through the maple orange pastry creme, then chilled it. Delicieux!! There was a slight hint of bitterness from the tangerine peel and the balance of flavours was perfect! Thank you my sweet friend ShaymaThe Spice Spoon for adding wonderful spice to my life; inspiration too! I am sure you’ve been to her beautiful blog; it’s a treat in every sense!Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme

Do you want to join us making MACARONS?

If you do, you are most welcome to join us  for this challenge, or the next. You can find all the information at our dedicated macaron blog MacTweets. We generally post the round-up by the end of every month, following which a new challenge is posted!

[print_this]Recipe: Blood Orange Macarons with Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme
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Summary: A perfect balance of flavours. Blood orange peel macarons, with a bitter orange dark chocolate filling, laced with mild flavours of pure maple. {Makes about 15 macarons}
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Ingredients:

  • Blood Orange Macarons
  • {recipe adapted from David Lebovitz}
  • 1 egg white {35gm}, aged 2 days
  • 2 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar {I used vanilla sugar}
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/8 tsp egg white powder
  • 1/4 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp dried blood orange peel
  • Pure maple flakes for sprinkling on shells
  • Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme
  • 1/8 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp clarified butter, melted {or unsalted butter}
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp pure maple flakes
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • peel of 1 tangerine
  • 1 tbsp dried blood orange peel
  • 1 tbsp almond meal
  • 1/2 cup dark couverture chocolate, melted

Method:

  1. Blood Orange Macarons
  2. Run the powdered sugar, cornflour, almond meal, egg white powder and blood orange flakes in your processor until well blended and fine. Sift into a bowl.
  3. Beat the egg white until foamy, then add the granulated sugar and beat for approximately 2 minutes until stiff peaks form.
  4. Fold in 1/4 of the dry mix until no streaks remain, then add the remainder of the dry mix and gently fold in until you get a lava like batter. {donot overfold}
  5. Place into a piping bag and pipe circles onto parchment paper.
  6. Tap the trays sharply to get rid of air bubbles and allow to rest for 30-45 minutes.
  7. Bake in double trays at 140C for 12-15 minutes, until the shells are firm and no longer jiggly. {My oven uses just the lower element for baking, so I place the double trays towards the top of the oven}
  8. Cool.
  9. Maple Orange Chocolate Pastry Creme
  10. Whisk together the flour, tangerine rind, maple flakes,  sugar, salt, melted butter and egg in a heavy saucepan. Slowly add in the milk, whisking to ensure no lumps form. Place over medium heat with vanilla bean and bring to a simmer. Make sure you stir constantly so that the cream doesn’t ‘catch’ the bottom of the pan. Stir constantly until thick, remove from the heat and push through a sieve. Stir in the blood orange flakes, add the melted chocolate and whisk occasionally as it cools. Chill to firm up.
  11. Thermomix Maple Orange Pastry Creme
  12. Place all ingredients except blood orange flakes in bowl of TM, mix on reverse speed 2 for 5 seconds, then cook at 90C, Speed 4 for 7 minutes.
  13. Push through a sieve into a bowl, mix in blood orange flakes and stir occasionally until cool.
  14. To assemble:
  15. Match equal halves of macarons, and keep together.
  16. Use a small spoon and deposit a tiny amount of pastry creme on the flat side of the macaron and sandwich with another half of the same size, squeezing gently. Rest in fridge for a day to allow the flavours to mature.

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“If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.”
Benjamin Franklin

Strawberry & Kiwi Bavarian Cake & Vanilla Bavarian Mousse... with Razzle Dazzle Macarons 1Some days I just dazzle myself with my efficiency, days that are few and far between, but it gives me confidence that I can still achieve quite a bit on better days!! It was a cake for my SILs birthday, AND macarons, all done on fast track. Inspiration came from our MacTweets theme for January and the Bavarian mousse on this Chocolate Bavarian Mousse Cake; that is how this Strawberry & Kiwi Bavarian Cake with Razzle Dazzle Macarons came about to be.Strawberry & Kiwi Bavarian Cake with Razzle Dazzle MacaronsOn a day like this I raced and baked a sponge, made a Bavarian cream, then a mousse, layered a cake and even had it chilling in a couple of hours!! Even more dazzling … got the macs piped even as the kids grumbled getting out of bed and into the shower; ffound ‘feet’ before 8am, just after I had banished the kids to school!! Strawberry & Kiwi Bavarian Cake with Razzle Dazzle MacaronsCake demoulded, ganached and snazzed up with my macs and I was a happy baker! The ganache wasn’t in my plan, limited as it seemed because of the time crunch, but the daughter begged for chocolate to be included in the master plan. I think the cake would have looked beautiful without the dark chocolate hues, but teens need to be kept happy, so…Strawberry & Kiwi Bavarian Cake with Razzle Dazzle MacaronsThe macarons ran with the basic colours of fruit in the cake, pink for strawberries and green for kiwi. I was lucky to find feet so early in the morning. For the boost of mac-confidence I have to applaud the uber talented Stella @ BraveTart…and she is brave. She bakes mean {read GORGOEUS!!}  macarons, and did away with many mac myths in a second.Strawberry & Kiwi Bavarian Cake with Razzle Dazzle Macarons; Vanilla Bavarian Mousse with Strawberries & BasilReading her post made me feel ultra confident, and a day old egg white out of the fridge did yield the frills or feet! I also dumped the granulated sugar in with the whites and whipped them altogether, but this time wasn’t nervous. Bravery is a strong emotion, and I was rewarded in under 10 minutes …pretty little mini macs.Strawberry & Kiwi Bavarian Cake with Razzle Dazzle MacaronsThe sponge is a basic one, a 3 egg recipe that lives in my head… 3 eggs + 1/2 cup sugar + 1/2 cup flour. Minimal ingredients {with the seed of 1/2 a vanilla bean} and minimal fuss that results in a light airy sponge. This is my to-go recipe for a Swiss roll too!Strawberry & Kiwi Bavarian Cake with Razzle Dazzle Macarons; Vanilla Bavarian Mousse with Strawberries & BasilI did try to rustle up some shimmer and glimmer to jazz the macarons to meet the razzle dazzle theme, but the shimmer is rather muted! Well the thoughts {and my morning} dazzled in any case. The macarons were sandwiched with some dark chocolate ganache reserved from the frosting.Vanilla Bavarian Mousse with Strawberries & BasilBavarian is fast becoming my choice of filling in cakes, one that finds its roots in a crème anglaise of sorts, as we still moan the lack of local whipping cream in India. The mousse compliments fresh fruit beautifully, and is delicately flavoured with vanilla bean. It was a little less firm in the filling as I used kiwi too {I think the high citric content in kiwi interferes with the setting of gelatin}. It did set though, but just. Next time I might stick to just strawberries to get a firmer mousse … like the one below!Vanilla Bavarian Mousse with Strawberries & BasilThe weather that whole day {week actually} was cold and rainy, hence the cake pictures aren’t bright and happy. I had some mousse left over as the cake was taller than my desert ring, so I set some in glasses. I absolutely love the idea of doing individual portions like these that can be made ahead, and dressed up with seasonal fruit, as in this case strawberries perked up with some fresh basil!Vanilla Bavarian Mousse with Strawberries & BasilThese were GOOD, oh so good! The Bavarian set perfectly, the little vanilla bean specks flavouring it beautifully. I topped the goblets with a strawberry puree, like the one layered in these White & Dark Chocolate Desserts with Strawberries. To add colour and flavour, I snipped in some fresh basil which I am fortunate to have these days. I left these in the fridge for a couple of hours again, and the strawberry, lime and basil flavours matured nicely!Vanilla Bavarian Mousse with Strawberries & BasilThe play of textures and the visual appeal was great! Dolled up with a macaron and I have never heard the fridge door opening SO MANY times! The kids were constantly in and out of the kitchen to look at it longingly. The minute dinner was done, it was a race to the fridge again. Door opened again! “Now?”

Do you want to join us making MACARONS?


If you do, you are most welcome to join us  for this challenge, or the next. You can find all the information at our dedicated macaron blog MacTweets. We generally do the round-up by the end of every month, following which a new challenge is posted!

[print_this]Recipe: Strawberry & Kiwi Bavarian Cake with Razzle Dazzle Macarons
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Summary:A marriage of flavours and textures, 2 desserts, one basic mousse. Add in some fresh seasonal fruit, top with macarons and you have … Strawberry & Kiwi Bavarian Cake with Razzle Dazzle Macarons, & Vanilla Bavarian Mousse with Strawberries & Basil

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes {plus setting/chilling time}
Ingredients:

  • Vanilla Sponge
  • 6 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar {I used granulated}
  • 1 cup plain flour, sifted
  • 1/2 vanilla bean scraped {or pure vanilla extract}
  • Basic Sugar Syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • Vanilla Bavarian Mousse
  • 4 egg yolks {large; 5 if small}
  • 300ml whole milk
  • 200ml low fat cream, room temperature
  • 1/2 vanilla bean scraped
  • 75gm sugar
  • 1 1/4 tbsp gelatin {increase in warm weather}
  • 200ml cream, chilled
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • Chocolate Ganache
  • 200gm dark chocolate bits {or chopped}
  • 200ml low fat cream
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Fruit for filling
  • 300gm strawberries, chopped {reserve 3-4 for garnishing
  • 2-3 kiwi, peeled, chopped {reserve 1/2 for garnishing}
  • Vanilla Macarons
  • 1 egg white, aged a day
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1/4 tsp egg white powder
  • 2 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • Strawberry Puree for the Bavarian Mousse Goblets
  • 300gm strawberries, chopped fine
  • 2-3 tbsp powdered sugar {increase/decrease as per tartness of strawberries}
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 6-8 leaves fresh basil, chiffonaded
  • 1tbsp water

Method:

  1. Vanilla Sponge
  2. Preheat oven to 190C. Line the base and sides of a 9″ round tin with baking parchment.
  3. Beat eggs, vanilla bean and sugar over simmering water until the eggs are thick and mousse like, about 7-10 minutes. Once they triple in volume, remove from water, and continue to beat until the mixture cools dwon {about 5 minutes}
  4. Fold the flour in carefully, in figure 8 moves, to ensure you don’t release the air.
  5. Turn into prepared tin, and bake for about 30 minutes, until the cake is light golden and springs back when touched.
  6. Remove from tin, take off parchment, and coole completely on rack.
  7. Vanilla Bavarian Mousse
  8. Bloom gelatin in 2-3 tbsp of water. Place in a bowl of hot water to dissolve fully.
  9. Whisk the yolks with the sugar in a bowl.
  10. Heat cream, milk and half the sugar {15gm} until simmering. Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar with a balloon whisk, and add 1/3rd of the hot milk mixture over it, whisking continuously until well combined. Pour this back into the pan with the remaining milk mixture. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the cream is thickened and coats the back of the spoon. {Don’t allow it to boil}. It is important to constantly stir to prevent the bottom from curdling or burning. If that happens, take a balloon whisk and whisk vigorously. If you fear your custard curdled too much, remove from the heat and pass it through a fine sieve before proceeding with the recipe.
  11. Thermomix: Place all ingredients in TM bowl, and cook at 90C, Speed 3 for 7 minutes.
  12. Remove from heat immediately and stir the gelatin well into this hot mixture well, then quickly strain this into a bowl. Cool over a bowl of crushed ice, stirring frequently.  
  13. Once cool, beat the remaining 200ml chilled cream to soft peaks, and gently stir into the mousse.
  14. Chocolate Ganache
  15. Chocolate Glaze
  16. Place chocolate in a bowl.
  17. Heat the cream and honey in a pan until simmering. Pour over the chopped chocolate and stir until smooth. Reserve 1/4 cup ganache in a piping bag for macarons.
  18. Assembling Torte
  19. Cut the sponge horizontally into 3 layers. Place in dessert ring on serving platter. {Dessert ring should fit nice and snugly. I use this adjustable dessert ring I bought in Sydney.} Place one layer of cake, top with the strawberries and kiwi, then half the Bavarian mousse. Repeat with the next layer. Cover and chill overnight for the Bavarian to set.
  20. Unmold from the dessert ring, frost with the ganache and garnish as desired. Chill until ready to serve.
  21. Vanilla Macarons
  22. Preheat oven to 140C.
  23. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  24. Blend the powdered sugar, almond meal, vanilla powder and egg white powder briefly in the bowl of your food processor to mix. {you can sift it too}
  25. In a large clean bowl, beat the egg white and the granulated vanilla sugar till it becomes firm and holds peaks, about 2 minutes.
  26. Carefully fold the dry ingredients into the beaten egg white with a flexible rubber spatula. When the mixture is just smooth and falls in ribbons like molten lave, stop folding. {Do not overmix}
  27. Using a teaspoon, or piping bag, drop / pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1″ circles evenly spaced one-inch apart.
  28. Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons, then rest for about about 15 minutes {to an hour}.
  29. Bake them for about 15 minutes until the shells feel firm to touch.
  30. Let cool completely then remove from baking sheet.
  31. To assemble macarons
  32. Match equal halves of macarons, and keep together.
  33. Pipe a tiny bit of the reserved ganache from above on the flat side of the macaron and sandwich with another half of the same size, squeezing gently. Leave to set.
  34. Strawberry Puree for the Bavarian Mousse Goblets
  35. Lightly crush the chopped strawberries with the powdered sugar with a fork until the strawberries release their juices. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and reserve in a bowl in the fridge. Distribute over the glasses once Bavarian is set, and chill until served.

Notes: I bake my macarons on the upper shelf in my oven, using just the lower element for heat. I also use double baking trays.

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